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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2008 Nov;62(5):1031-6. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkn325. Epub 2008 Aug 13.

Antimicrobial efficacy of chlorhexidine digluconate alone and in combination with eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil and thymol against planktonic and biofilm cultures of Staphylococcus epidermidis.

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1
School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Aston Triangle, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK. karpantj@aston.ac.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Effective skin antisepsis and disinfection of medical devices are key factors in preventing many healthcare-acquired infections associated with skin microorganisms, particularly Staphylococcus epidermidis. The aim of this study was to investigate the antimicrobial efficacy of chlorhexidine digluconate (CHG), a widely used antiseptic in clinical practice, alone and in combination with tea tree oil (TTO), eucalyptus oil (EO) and thymol against planktonic and biofilm cultures of S. epidermidis.

METHODS:

Antimicrobial susceptibility assays against S. epidermidis in a suspension and in a biofilm mode of growth were performed with broth microdilution and ATP bioluminescence methods, respectively. Synergy of antimicrobial agents was evaluated with the chequerboard method.

RESULTS:

CHG exhibited antimicrobial activity against S. epidermidis in both suspension and biofilm (MIC 2-8 mg/L). Of the essential oils thymol exhibited the greatest antimicrobial efficacy (0.5-4 g/L) against S. epidermidis in suspension and biofilm followed by TTO (2-16 g/L) and EO (4-64 g/L). MICs of CHG and EO were reduced against S. epidermidis biofilm when in combination (MIC of 8 reduced to 0.25-1 mg/L and MIC of 32-64 reduced to 4 g/L for CHG and EO, respectively). Furthermore, the combination of EO with CHG demonstrated synergistic activity against S. epidermidis biofilm with a fractional inhibitory concentration index of <0.5.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results from this study suggest that there may be a role for essential oils, in particular EO, for improved skin antisepsis when combined with CHG.

PMID:
18703525
DOI:
10.1093/jac/dkn325
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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